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Rap Is Not to Blame for Donald Sterling

Donald Sterling will no longer receive Lifetime Achievement Award from the NAACP.

Lort, lort, lort, if I see one more headline featuring some Black columnist, blogger or random meme-maker trying to take a slice of the responsibility owed to Sterling…

The now banned-for-life Clippers’ owner and all-around delusional racist hasn’t even so much as apologized for his actions, which date back to 10 years ago when he combined slumlording and bigoted rhetoric to make his tenants’ lives a living hell.

But why should he say that he’s sorry for anything?  It seems that he has enough blowhards trying to get Black America– mythical monolith that we are– to take some of the blame.

Just as we did during the Don Imus days, some (including a writer with this trolling title) are trying to point the finger at radio rap for Sterling’s transgressions.

But what the hell does any artist, even N.W.A spelled out in its entirety, have to do with what the Clipper mogul was reportedly heard hissing on tape to his Black and Mexican mistress?

Was Sterling quoting Lil’ Wayne or pretty much running down a worldview that could have earned a co-sign by Hitler?

Did he sound like he was channeling A$AP Rocky, or was it more like an homage to David Duke?

I think you know the answer.

And though I do not condone the use of the n-word due to its disgusting history, I am not going to sit around and watch as the narrative shifts from righteous punishment for some old, embittered racist to what role “we Blacks” play in debasing ourselves in pop culture.

Blame the victim is nothing new in America, but this rhetoric here…  It is nonsensical at worst and self-destructive at best.

There are complex economic and structural forces that plague members of the African American community, and we cannot blame all of our ills on street slang and pulled down pants. During the Civil Rights era, you’ll note that those being hosed down in the streets, practically stoned for trying to integrate schools or banished to the backs of buses were immaculately dressed.  Respectability politics are a red herring meant to distract from what is really going on.

Most importantly, calling each other a misguided term of endearment is not the reason why people like Paula Deen, Michael Richards, Donald Sterling, and Mel Gibson believe what they believe.

The system that created the n-word has been around long before NWA, Tupac, Snoop, Rick Ross, or Jay-Z.  It predates Richard Pryor and Dolemite.

It’s that system, not the slang, that prompted Sterling to do what he did to his tenants and presumably his players.

If we want to work on our issues as a community (albeit a diverse one) and clean up our music, I’ll ride for that.

But we don’t have to take on this particular White man’s burden in order to do it.